Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Confessions of a Broadway Nerd

Most of us probably have a somewhat skewed perception of who we are and what information we put out  for others to interpret.  I have always viewed myself as much cooler than I really am, something of a female Fonzie adrift in a sea of Potsies.  But the reality of how inaccurate that statement is assaults me any time I look at myself dressed in my work clothes.  When I catch that unplanned glimpse of myself in the reflection of the glass walls of the data center at work,  I meet with the truth of the matter; which is that I usually look like a harried and style-parched librarian, glasses perched atop of my head, further disheveling my non-hairstyle, wearing baggy dress pants and an unflatteringly boxy blazer.

But in spite of my heinous work wardrobe and perhaps by an act of sheer will, I might have been able to convince people that I am cooler than I really am.  More likely, I have just effectively hidden some of my less cool tendencies from those around me.  However, very recently I let the geeky horse out of the barn and there may not be an opportunity to regain the tiny sliver of cool that I might have had. Here's how it went down...

For the last 15 years, I have been attending Broadway shows at a rate of 2 or 3 a year (sometimes more). Most of these plays have been musicals.   Very often, I buy the soundtrack for these musicals.  I also buy the soundtrack for movie musicals of shows gone by.  For better or for worse, I know every word to every song in South Pacific.  Younger than springtime, am I.  

During a recent trip to New York, one where many bars were visited and many cocktails consumed, I learned that I have a love for Karaoke (something I had vehemently refused to participate in prior to 5 months ago).  Being my maiden voyage at Karaoke and given my natural aversion to it, you would think that I would be careful in my choice of songs, picking only those that would mitigate the amount of humiliation that I exposed myself to.  A sane and sober choice might have included a rock anthem that everyone could sing along to, thereby drowning out the truly terrible quality of  my singing.  But I was neither sane or sober in the moment that I gave in to the Karaoke monster.  Rather than choosing good time singalong songs, I hit the show tunes, hard. I guess you can say that when the microphone hit my hand, my inner Elaine Stritch came out (luckily for everyone, I didn't take my pants off and walk around in my shirt and stockings).

As I started ripping through the Sondheim song book (praise be to Sondheim) and other classic show tunes, looks of confusion came over peoples faces.  The songs I chose were unrecognizable to the mostly twenty-somethings that we were with and as I sang each one, my husband kept repeating the same phrase - "How do you know this?". I would simply shrug my shoulders and tear into the next one.  I gargled and growled through Ladies Who Lunch, I warbled Master of the House from Le Mis,  I croaked my rendition of I'm Still Here from Follies.  Sure, I mixed in some other songs to dilute the potency of the show tunes, but with the first note of All That Jazz, I outed myself as a Broadway Nerd. 

I guess it could have been worse.  I could have been with sober people who actually remember the event. We have done Karaoke together since, and everyone participated willingly, even enthusiastically. The bottom line is that I am happy to be out and proud. I may be a long way from Fonzie, but in my book Patti Lupone is pretty badass too. Just call me Evita.

Nerd Alert!!! This is my collection of Playbills.  The binder on the left holds around 20. The books on the right are the plays I have seen since I filled the binder a few years ago. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


15 years.   That's a long time.  You can pay off a mortgage, watch a child grow from baby to first date, see a friend's marriage start and end and if you are lucky, you can spend it with someone awesome.

15 years was the gift we got from Spike.  Even though he was an outdoor cat, he cheated the odds and got a 15 year run of it.  We like to say that the things that kept him alive so long were pure moxie and an uncanny ability to look both ways when crossing the street.

Spike lived most of his days on his own terms.  There were no rules for Spike that were not utterly self directed.  He was footloose and fancy free and he liked it just like that.  When he came in the house to warm up, nap and socialize, it was by his own choice.  He accepted pets from the humans an ear nuzzles from both dogs until he tired of them and coolly padded off to a corner of the floor where the heating pipes ran and he could tuck his legs under him so that he looked like a furry, sleeping roast beef.

He took his leave of this world last week when age and kidney failure got the best of him. His last day was awful, but every day that preceded that was joyful and much, much hipper than thou.  So it was with sadness and tears we had to let him go, but there are nothing but smiles and laughs as we look back at what an awesome character and fantastic family member he was.

Spike lived most of his days on his own terms.  How many of us can say the same?